Communication Skills

25+ Effective Networking Tactics To Improve Your Networking Skills

Networking | People skills

1. Just be friends most of the time: Sharing common interests stuff, spending off-times together. Try not to 'milk' the contact straightaway. As we age, making friends becomes harder, as people get busy with surviving life. So be a friend whenever you can.


2. The 24/7/30 Method of following up: Drop the person a note within 24 hours of meeting. Connect to the person within seven days on social media (Linkedin, Facebook), and reach out for a face-to-face meeting within 30 days of first meeting.


3. The 'layoff' test: If you were laid off today, who are the first five/ people you will reach out to? When was the last time you spoke with them? Build this list today. Some call it creating a personal 'Board of Advisers'.


4. Look for the 'superconnectors or the 'big bridges': These are people who seem to know most other useful people in your industry. Start with your circle and find someone who seems to know everyone. If could be even better if one of these superconnectors became your mentor.


Rule #1 for reaching out: Just reach out.


5. Be a 'bridge' yourself: Practice being better at making introductions. When you help people connect, you establish your value as the 'bridge'. This will help in the long run. Look for people to connect and you may soon become a force in your industry.


6. Start doing 'Five Minute Favors' everyday: Five minute to help someone out, that's all.


7. Network down, not only up: Treat people at every level with respect. You need only go after the people 'who have it' all the time. Who knows when we might need help of people? Who knows that junior of yours is at a senior level in some other company? We also learn a lot a skill by teaching our juniors.


8. How to handle things at an event/party: Start with a purpose ('It is a party, so just chill', 'got to make contact', etc).

At least look confident.

Groups of two people are better targets in a party to interject yourself.

Give a warm handshake (The Clinton 'one hand near elbow, other hand holding the palm').

Remember their names (and ask if your didn't get it right..).

Look at people's body language to see how they are feeling (bored, defensive, eager).

Have a story or two to tell (elevator pitch as well).

Use the FORD technique (family, occupation, recreation dreams) to come up with ideas to talk.

Find some common interests and you will build rapport with the person.

Pick one person and make it your mission to find out something really interesting about them.

Ask open-ended questions, listen to the answer, and build in to your next question.


9. Making a great first impression: Being on time, presentable physical appearance/appropriate attire, winning smile, using small talk , being positive, courteous and attentive.


10. Use mirroring to build rapport: Subtly imitate someone’s body language or facial expressions. Someone smiles, you smile back. Someone waves, you wave back. As simple as that.


11. To be interesting, be interested: Make them feel they are the most important people for you at that moment of time.


Remember the 80/20 Rule. Listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time.


12. Three things that motivates most of us: Making money, finding love, or changing the world.


13. Don't appear to be nagging while networking: If you now need to follow-up, you may need to grovel, or give the other person time before they get back, acknowledge how busy they are, and let them know they are doing you a favor. If they don't get after all this, forget and move on.


14. Don’t eat alone: Or, for that matter, make friendships whenever and wherever you can. Eating together is one of the better occasions to make new friendships.


15. Make warm calls: Warm calls or expected calls. Warm calling involves you establishing your credibility first (e.g. familiar person/place/company), then stating your value proposition (what can you do for them?), next telling them what you need and why (urgency), and be ready to offer a compromise (for example, they might not help out readily - maybe, they are indeed very busy).


16. Stay in touch: They say 80% of building and maintaining relationships is just staying in touch (or 'pinging'). Birthdays/anniversaries are on of the best tools of 'pinging'.


17. When you are having a party, have some 'anchor guest': Someone you know means a lot to other people and will draw in more guests.


18. Maintain a relationship diary/spreadsheet: People met - position - last followed/pinged. Also a separate list of 'people I need to meet'.


19. Get attention: If people think you have value, they will pay attention. People pay attention to the experts in their industry. Be an expert. Start to teach, write, and speak about your industry. You have become a brand.


20. Join associations, groups, clubs, office cliques etc: For example, industry-related groups on Linkedin, Facebook, Google groups, online forums etc are very useful for sharing ideas and contacts.


21.Build your own group: If no one else is having you, build your own group/club. First form a USP (Unique Selling proposition) of the group, and then invite others to join, starting with people you want to connect with.


22. Build relationships, not connections: Relationships involve an ongoing series of interactions (events) and 'give and take'. Connections may often mean 'selfish, one-sided contacts' - 2000 connections on Linkedin - what does it mean? Do each of them know you personally? Relationships are connections with regular interactions.


23. To start a conversation: Smile. It starts with, 'Hi, my name is....'. Follow it up with a compliment ('I liked your point about...', 'you have a great voice'). If that person is familiar, say 'You look familiar'. Talk about a timely, common topic and seek a common ground, as easy rapport.


24. Mind your language: Avoid sexist or racist language. Take up religion or politics only rarely, or not at all. Don't say anything unless you are absolutely sure it will help the situation, when you have something really interesting and relevant to add.


25. Mind your manners: Don't talk while eating. Get up when the guest arrives. Sit after they have seated themselves. And all the good common sense stuff that show you respect others.


26. Sometimes, you have to push your way through: The Economist writes that most successful networkers 'must be calculating, ruthless and shameless;, but that they also go ahead one step, and make it appear that the encounter was 'pure chance'. They actually engineer these 'chance' meetings - for example, having coffee at the same place your 'target' frequents. Or, they get a 'bridge' person (see above) to make introductions.


27. Seven types of calls we need to make to build our network


- The 'Reconnection' Call: to someone you haven’t talked to in a while.

- The 'Follow – through Call.

- The 'New Contact or Referral' call: To someone you have just been referred to.

- The 'Thinking of you' call.

- The 'Asking for support' call.

- The 'How can I help?' call.

- The 'Developing Friendship' call.

(Source: Donna Fisher)


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